One of the things that I learned from my 10 day vacation was that I need to set boundaries. Okay, so this wasn't something that was taught to me during my 10 day retreat, but something that I realized after I had gone back to work the following Monday. By boundaries I mean that it is okay to say "No".
For example, one of my co-workers always stops in my office to chat about some work-related thing. And, this well-meaning co-worker starts talking non-stop about something while she can see that I am feverishly typing an email with piles of wayward papers strewn across my desk. Anyone would take this as a sign that now is NOT a good time to talk. However, that is not the case with this well-meaning co-worker. Nope - she sits down across my desk and starts talking, talking, TALKING about things and I get annoyed.
But, it never dawns on me to tell her that now is not a good time and sometimes I do the unthinkable. Yep, I STOP what I'm doing to listen to her which makes her think (I'm sure) that it's okay for her to keep doing this. So what I've done when she did this to me last week was stop what I was doing, look directly at her, and say, "Now isn't a great time. When can I catch up with you?" Sadly, it didn't seem to work and she started to sit, but I repeated that it wasn't a good time and after a couple of sentences out of her mouth, she realized I was serious and went away. I've decided that next time, I will excuse myself and run to the ladies' room.
So boundaries....I decided that if I were out of the office and I was sick, that I would BE sick. This means that I would NOT check my email like a crazy person and I would NOT answer emails that weren't critical. Critical like - a decision needs to be made on an application going live and the ONLY LIVING person who can make that decision is me. So, while I was sick on Thursday and Friday, I checked my email once before lunch and then again at around 3:00 pm. It worked well since those are the times that I had to get up to take my medicine or woke up from a nap or had a hacking coughing fit and needed to find my inhaler.
The upside to boundaries is that you feel more in control. The downside to boundaries - I am so behind at work right now it isn't even close to funny. I was actally caught up by Wednesday after I got back from my 10 day vacation, but now I am so behind that I don't just need a shovel but an end-loader to get through stuff.